Friday, December 14, 2018
November 20th was the 20th annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR), when we remembered the at least 25 trans people murdered in this country since TDOR 2017, and the hundreds more murdered elsewhere in our world. And yet since that Day, at least two more of my trans siblings have been taken by murder here in the US, and we’ve become more aware of an October murder. And the great majority of those stolen continue to be Black, women, and young.
On October 7th, Regina Denise Brown, a Black trans woman, was killed in Orangeburg, South Carolina. On November 26th, Tydi Dansbury, also Black trans woman, was killed in Baltimore, an hour from here (Gaithersburg). And on Friday December 7th, Keanna Mattel, also a Black trans woman, was killed in Detroit.
Between TDOR 2017 and the end of last year, three trans women were murdered -- Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson (Oklahoma City), Brandi Seals (Houston), and Rhiannon Layendecker (Englewood, Florida). In 2018, they have been joined by Christa Steele Knudslien (North Adams, Massachusetts -- we were colleagues there in my home state and Friends here), Viccky Gutierrez (Los Angeles), Celine Walker (Jacksonville), Tonya Harvey (Buffalo), Zakaria Fry (Albuquerque), Phylicia Mitchell (Cleveland), Amia Tyrae Berryman (Baton Rouge), Sasha Wall (Chesterfield County, South Carolina), Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón (Dallas), Nino Fortson (Atlanta), Gigi Pierce (Portland, Oregon), Roxsana Hernandez (Albuquerque), Antasha English (Jacksonville), Diamond Stephens (Meridian, Mississippi), Cathalina Christina James (Jacksonville), Keisha Wells (Cleveland), Sasha Garden (Orlando), Vontashia Bell (Shreveport, Louisiana), Dejanay Stanton (Chicago), Shantee Tucker (Philadelphia), Londonn Moore (North Port, Florida), Nikki Enriquez (Laredo, Texas), and Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier (Chicago).
It’s important to know that there have been multiple murders in some places, that Roxana died in ICE custody with significant evidence showing she was abused there, and that Nikki was one of four women victims of an intel supervisor for US Border Patrol. And that more than 360 trans people have been murdered elsewhere in our world in the past year, and the great majority are Latinx -- mostly trans women and transfeminine people.
I also remember Nicole Hall, a Black trans woman found dead in Dallas in May. And my siblings lost to suicide, as the attempt rate in our community is over 40%. And every year there are unreported deaths, and reported ones where the victim is not identified as trans.
May all of my trans sisters, brothers and other siblings’ memories be a blessing, as we say in Judaism -- and one that calls us to act, especially at trans justice’s intersection with racial, immigration and economic justice. May we continue schlepping towards tikkun olam, world repair, at the intersection of LGBTQI+, climate, racial, immigration, spiritual, fat, disability, and all other stripes of the rainbow of justice. May we never forget that white supremacy has always been inseparable from misogyny, cis supremacy and transphobia. Amen!